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Old 04-06-2009, 10:35 PM   #1
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Another 30 horse story...

So, TWS (Texas World Speedway) is a pretty fun track, 'specially if you have a modern inline with plenty of get up and go.

I was diggin' out the day I had at Cresson. Cleaning some cobwebs, trying to forget how good the '09 ZX6R I rode at Oak Hill was, and learning a new-to-me bike. Cresson, by far the finest Texas track and facility bar-none, has a special place in my heart and soul so it was a foregone conclusion that I was going to have fun there.

TWS (Texas World Speedway) used to be my favorite track, Cresson has gained that top honor. Yes, I've crashed at Cresson, yes we've lost some races (and won some) there, but it's just got the all around package of being a great track and facility, and that's the way it is.

TWS (Texas World Speedway) carries some demons for me. I've had some great races and track days there, and I've also had some really crappy races and track days there. It's the site of my personally infamous crash that saw me leave the racing arena to date as well as cause some permanent damage to my bod. I gained about 30lbs during the time I was incapacitated, and it took me about a year to get back up to a pace once I did get back on the bike. We lost a race there because of a mechanical issue in the later hours of a 6 hour race in which we were battling for first with Faltless Racing (the perennial F2 Champs)- a win we surely would have garnered as Faltless crashed towards the end. They were so far ahead of the team that was behind us that they didn't even have to fix the bike and get back on track to win.

That's racing though, track days are another thing. I've had by far more good track days there than bad.

It's just that you remember the bad ones. I was working with Pete Martins on some new Dunlops that I've never ridden before. I was leaving Michelin and Pete told me to slap on some 'Lops and see how I liked 'em. I loved 'em! I asked Pete to tow me around TWS (Texas World Speedway) for a few laps to see if he could offer some critique so I'd be a bit faster for the next race (I was just getting back in to racing then). I went out in the next session. Pete said he would follow me a few, then pass me and have me follow him. Fair enough, sounds like a good plan! I went out thinking Pete was behind me, did a few laps, and when Pete passed me, I did what I could to keep up while in the back of my mind said, "jeez, seems like this pace is well over my head...". Gotta listen to those voices every once in a while. No, not the ones that tell you to kill your co-workers, the other voices that protect you from eff'ing up. I also should have paid attention to the really fast mofos Pete was riding with that passed me at the same time he did. I spun up on the left hander coming out of the horseshoe at a good clip. As I spun up, I tried to "save" the slide on my knee, but that didn't work out so well. I low-sided (thankfully didn't high-side 'cause the recipe was there) and I slid for what seemed like an eternity; so long that I had time to think about my azz getting too hot from the friction of leather on pavement. As I watch my bike spinning on it's side down the track, hoping that I don't get hit by another bike, my leathers caught traction I flipped forward soundly thumping my forehead on the pavement. It was hard enough to knock me cross-eyed. How do I know I was cross eyed? Well, when I gathered that I wasn't dead and had all my fingers and toes, and could stand/ walk, I couldn't see straight. The corner worker asked when he got to me, "dude, I'm sorry, but are your eyes always crossed?". Next time someone tells me, "dude, I'm gonna hit you so hard I'll knock you cross-eyed..." I might just myself.

Thank for Arai helmets, I may be a drooling vegetable if it weren't for that thing.

So I'm anxious but with a bit of trepidation to attend this first track day at TWS (Texas World Speedway) with this new bike. As I get out on track, I kept my pace at around 2:00 just to feel things out. The bike was working fantastically, but the wind coming on to the back straight and out of turn 2 was something to deal with. Getting on the gas was an issue for me big time. I found that I was only rolling on about 3/4 throttle on to the back straight and front straight out of the chicane for some reason. I think it was a mind block- I've seen some hairy high-sides in both of these spots and it's something I think about with this new bike since it has a lot more potential to dump me on my head amd spit me off in to low earth orbit. Thankfully, my lap timer was malfunctioning most of the day too. Why am I thankful? Like Cresson, I didn't need to know what lap times I was doing and I should have disabled that part of my dash like I did at Cresson. While following Mr. Whoop, I came back in to review some lap times and it showed a 1.49.9. Yeah, I KNOW that didn't happen, but it made me look twice though! I showed Alan who immediately said "That's a glitch!". Can't sneak one by you there eh Whoop?

I noticed some familiarities with Cresson and TWS (Texas World Speedway) too with this bike. As I'm in the gas, the front wheel drifts up ever-so-gently. Not enough to call a Mr Unassailable "WHOOLIE", but just dancing the tire on the pavement, skipping on some bumps... in to the wind was where it was most notable. It was either due to the bike's aerodynamics or the mass holding on to the bars, one of the two. But a cool feeling to have. Would have been cooler if I'd gotten my new steering damper.

I just can't say enough about the tires though. The Bridgestones stuck like glue and wore fantastically! TWS (Texas World Speedway) at a sub-two minute pace is hard on tires with a i-4 600+cc bike. I probably rode 14 sessions yesterday in the A and B groups, and the tires lasted all day. I was questioning how long they would last this day too because Cresson had taken a pretty big bite of them weeks prior. At Cresson I had about 12 sessions in both A and B groups, so if you add them up with an average of 6 sessions per track days, I got about 4 track days out of the tires all at a decent pace. The front is still good-to-go, I'll just get a new rear and keep on ridin' the front I have on Friday.

The most fun I had though was working with Gabe McLendon at the end of the day. I had some good sessions chasing Marv Esterly, Irish, Whoop, and Dr Gonzo, and even got some nice video footage that Gonzo and I reviewed, but Gabe really showed me the way at the end of the day. Up until I got this bike, I really didn't know how the high horsepower bike riders got around TWS (Texas World Speedway). I'm used to low hp twins for race-pace, and never really paid much attention to the fast guys on i-4 bikes too much. I kept my head down, held my lines, carried as much corner speed as I could, and rode my own pace. I usually had no trouble catching some of those guys in the corners, but they were soon gone when the track straightened out- especially at TWS (Texas World Speedway). Now, I'm on the higher hp bike, and I like to learn how others get along with them. Jeff Grant is always fun to watch, but he's always well-gone within a couple corners. Good thing too because he sheds and I don't like having hair in my eyes (that's why I don't have any).

I found too. He's still there where I left him, hanging out with his Son in turn 1's transition. Funny thing is, when I got with Gabe, he went away again and all I saw was Light. Gabe's a tremendous teacher and just plain fast. I think he can run high 40's on a 10-speed bicycle. I've seen him do incredible laps on tires showing cords, a wet Oak Hill Raceway at 25*F on slicks, and he's always turning the fastest laps in his class on shagged tires at the end of the race. Gabe is a true performer and racer. For sure on Friday, I'll be applying what I learned from him! I'm confident that he helped me find a second or two out there that I've left.

As I was telling Whoop, if I can pull the string from my fahgina, I'll get on WOT earlier too. I just didn't have the fargin' bells to do it Sunday.

In the end, it was an accomplishment for me Sunday; I was able to come to grips with the new bike, get down to a pace I had last year on the old bike, and possibly found a way to get past that pace too. One thing's for sure though, I need to get some new toe sliders and replace the stock rearsets! Whenever I get me lean-on, my toes and pegs take a bit of a beating!

See yall on Friday!
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Old 04-06-2009, 10:45 PM   #2
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Lot's of fun out there, and good time getting ready for next weekend. Nice to meet you at dinner afterwards, Tom.
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Old 04-06-2009, 10:52 PM   #3
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Lot's of fun out there, and good time getting ready for next weekend. Nice to meet you at dinner afterwards, Tom.
The pleasure was all mine, you guys were great company at the track and after
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Old 04-06-2009, 10:58 PM   #4
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Sounds like a fun day. Ill see you out there this weekend Tom.
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Old 04-06-2009, 11:01 PM   #5
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I always dig your "columns" lol
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Old 04-06-2009, 11:28 PM   #6
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great write up as always. Most people would quit if they were incapacitated for a few months but only a true racer at heart and soul would continues. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 04-07-2009, 11:20 AM   #7
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Great write up as always Tommy Boy
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Old 04-07-2009, 11:27 AM   #8
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Agreed... I like reading Tom's write-ups.
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Old 04-07-2009, 11:44 AM   #9
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Wish I could of made it Sunday, but I was stuck in Alabama all weekend working. I hate my schedule, or lack there of.
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Old 04-07-2009, 01:55 PM   #10
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I can help you get faster at World this Friday Tom. We'll tie a rope to the back of Grants bike.
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Old 04-07-2009, 07:08 PM   #11
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I can help you get faster at World this Friday Tom. We'll tie a rope to the back of Grants bike.
Yeah, some of those young kids need to start working towing us old folks around!
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Old 04-07-2009, 07:29 PM   #12
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hey Tom ,thanks for the "stuff" into T1 on the mock race sunday.
looking forward to paying you back.
now i want a 750 but maybe next year.
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Old 04-07-2009, 07:38 PM   #13
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hey Tom ,thanks for the "stuff" into T1 on the mock race sunday.
looking forward to paying you back.
now i want a 750 but maybe next year.
Any time!


Never fails, every mock race at TWS (Texas World Speedway) the whole pack stays to the inside, I just cruise around the whole pack on the outside...

Which bike were you on? You weren't the one that "won" the mock race were you?

I remember meeting you Sunday, it was a pleasure to finally put face to online persona!
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Old 04-07-2009, 09:14 PM   #14
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Quote:
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Any time!


Never fails, every mock race at TWS (Texas World Speedway) the whole pack stays to the inside, I just cruise around the whole pack on the outside...

Which bike were you on? You weren't the one that "won" the mock race were you?

I remember meeting you Sunday, it was a pleasure to finally put face to online persona!
well i thought everyone "won" the race.LOL
BC no one crashed right?
i thought i was dead last on my tore up tires,turned out there was like three more way in the back.......i was dead beat and just trying to stay awake since i had been running the whole weekend with Marv and Jack(not keeping up by ANY stretch of the imaginaton).
oh,im the one in front on the siggie pic
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Old 04-07-2009, 09:26 PM   #15
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Nice write up, Tom. Thanks.
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Old 04-07-2009, 10:14 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rc51eviltwin View Post
well i thought everyone "won" the race.LOL
BC no one crashed right?
i thought i was dead last on my tore up tires,turned out there was like three more way in the back.......i was dead beat and just trying to stay awake since i had been running the whole weekend with Marv and Jack(not keeping up by ANY stretch of the imaginaton).
oh,im the one in front on the siggie pic
Yup, you're right about finishing and winning! Just ask Timme' who did earn his prov-nov Sunday too after a nice highside crash at OHR at the beginning of the season.

The guy who I was riding with at the front (I think he was on a 1000RR Honda) was riding VERY well. He protected his lines well and rode very predictably. He reacted very well when I passed him, showed him a wheel, and when he passed me back; which is the intention of the mock race drill.

All in all the new licensees did a great job
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